Belarusian Journalist Andrey Gnyot Faces Extradition from Serbia to Belarus

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Source/Author: COE, Safety of journalists platform

On 30 October 2023, Gnyot was detained upon his arrival to Serbia, based on an international arrest warrant issued by Interpol upon request by authorities in Belarus on alleged tax evasion charges.

In December 2023, the Higher Court in Belgrade ruled that the conditions for Gnyot’s extradition to Belarus were met. On 12 March 2024, after appeal, the decision was overturned and the case was sent for review. The process resumed on 26 March 2024.

Gnyot has remained in detention in the central prison in Belgrade ever since. His health has deteriorated significantly, according to CPJ’s review of his letter to his friend dated 11 May 2024. In the letter, Gnyot said his left foot had been partially paralyzed since April, and he was not receiving appropriate medical treatment.

Andrei Gnyot is a Belarusian journalist, director and political activist, and he is called the co-founder of the “Free Association of Athletes SOS BY”, recognised in Belarus as an “extremist party”. Gnyot’s friend told CPJ that if the journalist is extradited to Belarus, he could potentially face additional charges for creating or participating in an extremist group, which carries up to 10 years in prison, while a tax evasion charge carries up to seven years imprisonment, according to the Belarusian criminal code.

On 3 November 2023, Gnyot’s lawyer filed a request to delete Gnyot’s data with the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files. In February 2024, Interpol temporarily blocked access to Gnyot’s data in its database, pending verification that Belarusian security forces were complying with Interpol regulations.

Source: COE